2013-01-16

Beetle kill's effect on water different than logging, flooding

The news on pine beetle outbreaks is not necessarily all bad, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado.

Professor William Lewis, interim director of CU's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, is an author of a new study that reports that small trees and other vegetation near waterways that survive pine beetle infestation increase their uptake of nitrate, a compound associated with forest disturbances such as logging and severe storms.

Logging activity or storms can drive stream nitrate concentrations up by as much as 400 percent for multiple years, but the study participants did not discover similar levels of nitrate concentration in the wake of widespread pine beetle infestations.